Im a car guy. If I had my druthers and a trust fund I would own a Ferrari or, at least, a Porsche. Instead, I drive an 8-year-old Chrysler PT Cruiser that, tragically, is new to me. Before that, I drove a 2001 Chevrolet S10, whose picture is in the dictionary beside the word lemon.
So no, I dont drive a car favored by car enthusiasts, and therefore, I am not a driving enthusiast. Instead, I drive because I have to, mostly from my home in Four Oaks to offices in Smithfield and Clayton.
If I lived in a large city, I dont know that I would own a car. I have traveled to Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C., every time without the benefit of a car, and yet I have never had trouble getting around those cities, thanks to public transportation. I even like the subway, perhaps because its still a novelty, and big-city buses are convenient because they run often and go everywhere.
Raleigh is not a big city, but it is big on public transportation. (Perhaps too big; its commitment to light rail seems destined to cost too much and carry too few people.) But buses are another matter. They are, it seems to me, superior to light rail: cheaper and more versatile.
Also, buses easier to deploy, so easy in fact that Wake Countys public transportation system is preparing to bring a bus to Johnston County. Starting next month, a bus will run to and from the Cleveland community and downtown Raleigh. The aim is to subject fewer cars to the traffic nightmare that will be the rebuilding of 11.5 miles of Interstate 40 and I-440. But the bus route will also be a test of public transportations popularity in Johnston County amid its ambition to extend its reach into Raleighs bedroom communities.
I dont go to downtown Raleigh often. But a few times a year, I have a meeting at The News & Observer office on McDowell Street. One such meeting was this past week. Next time, I might just park my PT Cruiser at Walmart in the Cleveland community and hop a bus to Raleigh.
The freedom of a car is a hard thing to pass up. But the bus ride is worth a try. Maybe Ill see you there.